I haven't looked alot at Web 2.0 Video other than what I see at the NY Web Video Meetups and what I myself play with, so I was surprised to see this email in my Inbox yesterday.:
My name’s Kimberley McKee and I work for social search/social networking start-up Searchles.com. I've been keeping tabs on AbleBrains to stay up-to-date on social media innovations. Recently, Searchles has been focusing on online video tools to make video-sharing and customizing as easy as possible for our users. We just launched in beta a video editing tool - Searchles TV Remash - which lets anyone edit any youtube video and subsequently mash the video clips up into one, embeddable player – no downloads or plug-ins.
We're aware there are other video editors out there - Cuts, Jumpcuts, etc. - but we like to think of Remash as the most functional and easy-to-use for the casual web-user. Having created Remash, we obviously think the interface and process is pretty clear - but, you know...we've been looking at it too long. Given the focus of Ablebrains’ posts on social media and the user-experience, we were wondering if you could have a look at Remash and provide us with some feedback if possible. Here is the link: http://www.searchles.com/misc/remash
The request seemed tailored enough for me to pay attention to it so I asked them a few questions which got forwarded on the founder, Chris Seline. He told me...Write a brutally honest blog entry, edit our wikipedia page, create a Searchles TV channel about Searchles TV.. We just need input
Ok Searchles team here goes... first off, I had my brand hat on when I first visited the site, wondering why a Video Mashup company would name themselves "SearchLess" - oh drop one L... you still have Searchles. Chris tells me he came up with the name. And it combines Search with Circles. When a company or product name induces confusion or has to be explained, its a poor choice of a name. I do like the name Remash though and conveyed to Chris that I think he should make a small investment in trademarking and legal to get control of his IP, including the names of that IP.
Regarding the Experience
The experience is basic, simple and clean which I like but there is so much more to that can be added to the experience to enrich it without complicating it. To name a few:
- Registration: a simple 3 step registration process that eventually let me down because the email confirmation to allow me to actually use the site took too long by my count - 45 minutes
- As part of the reg process one is asked to add a Searchles Bookmarklet extension - which was a completely manual process and there was no overt opportunity to OPT OUT. I just wanted to get to the Remash editor. That's a poor experiential piece that I'd recommend fixing immediately. By the way, I'd add Flock as one of the browser options.
- Also on the bottom of the Bookmarklet add
page there is "back to top" link, but this particular page doesn't go below the fold so the link is not
necessary, its clutter on the screen, get rid of it.
- What you see in the screen shot above is the Remash editor which allows you to search for youtube videos, select the ones you are interested in and then clip each individual video as well as sequence them. You can then name them, tag them and share them. BUT and this is a big but, the video's wouldnt load for me to allow me to see them as part of the editing process until I saved the mashup, viewed it and then I had to move back into the editor to actually see the mashup... so I'd have to say there was some sort of glitch, something was funky and in that regard Performance SUCKED.
- Trial Edit function - was completely missing. A way to preview just the section of the mashup you are editting would nice... to preview your edits before you commit to them. Further that should be an option to preview, not a prereq.
- Give the user feedback on Total Mashup time! As I clipped the individual videos' I kept looking for feedback on total mashup length change the selected clip properties, why don’t I see it being reflected in the total time line of the video mashup I am creating? Speaking of feedback, nice work on the ratings but you might want to extend to full-fledged reputation management, so that top mashup artists are recognized and sought after, thereby bringing more intinsic value to your users and hence more traffic to the site.
- Effects - I wanted to build in transition effects between the elements in my mashup to make the mashup cooler. They should also support building "Starting Scenes" for a mashup to either introduce it or again to enhance the entertainment experience.
- Video Segments - I really like the fact that when I want to skip to a particular segment in a movie on my iPod, it displays scene segments. I suggest some sort of algorithm that can do the same with these videos so you can jump to specific sections of the video.
- No cropping. If I want the beginning and ending of a video and I want to crop out the middle, can I do that? Not really I can shorten from the beginning or end but not take out the middle.. so a cropping function is necessary.
- Delete function -- when I saved and then deleted on component of my mashup the video wasn't deleted. I had to go into edit mode and delete it from there.
- Its still a bit buggy... for instance I tried sliding the clip bar back to a point in the video that had already been played to see if the editor would stop and revert to that point but it doesn’t and it should.
- On re-edit, of a mashup, the system didn't remember the re-ordering I had done from Play mode and I had to perform that edit again.
From a Design Perspective
Just a couple of points: (1) Think about duplicating critical functions at the top and bottom of pages to make it easier for a user to access them. Also you should review what content and functions should remain above and below the fold. Currently there is not a lot of content, and it would be a better experience if everything was above the fold - as long as you dont sacrifice simpicity for that goal.
Finally, while I always love to do this kind of stuff and I think my feedback can help, Searchles... why are you talking to me???? Get out there and watch, really watch, your key demographic, work with Remash. Basic user ethnography is easy to do and provides so much value. To that end, you should be talking to late and early stage Millenials. I'd be happy to hook you up with my son (and with ethnographers)
That'll be $5ooo.